Jury faces 100s of dox as gold smuggling case resumes

| 16/01/2020
Cayman News Service
Gold found at Heathrow Airport (Photo courtesy NCA)

(CNS): The trial of five men who are accused of being involved in an illegal gold smuggling venture resumed this week, after a near month-long break, with the presentation of mountains of documents. The first witness to take the stand as the crown re-opened the case was a police intelligence officer who specialises in electronic communication. The officer presented a report of more than 700 pages on the communications between the gang, which makes up a significant part of the prosecution’s case.

Daniel Alberto Aguilar Ferriozi, Antonio Di Ventura Herrera, Pedro Jose Benavidez Natera, Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante and Kody Zander are all facing similar charges in relation to two shipments of gold, valued at around $6 million, which was transferred through the Cayman Islands in May of last year and became part of an international investigation.

James Hines QC, who is prosecuting the case for the crown, argued that the ‘dirty gold’ is derived from criminal activity that has not been identified. But despite not knowing the exact criminality, the attorney said the emails and messages recovered from the telephones and laptops of those involved would demonstrate that this gold came from the proceeds of wrongdoing.

When he opened the case last year, Hines said that the way the men behaved and the actions they took relating to this gold, as well as $135,000 in cash found hidden under the floor panelling of the private jet they used to ship the ill-gotten gains, demonstrated that it came from criminality.

Hines said this case “has all the hallmarks of smuggling and money laundering”.

The crown contends the people involved are connected to the Naples Mafia and the Cali Cartel. But who owns the gold, where it originated, where it has been and why it was shipped through the Cayman Islands are questions central to the case that remain mysterious, compounded by the fact that no one has attempted to claim the more than $6 million haul.

The case is expected to continue for several more weeks, possibly months given the amount of communication evidence and the number of witnesses expected to testify for both the crown and the defence.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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